Clinics and horse shows are prime candidates for sponsorships. Often sponsor funds are used to provide substantial prizes that draw in greater participation.
“We typically use sponsorship funds to purchase awards or to provide other things, like exhibitor parties, drawings or giveaways,” said Laura Smith, the chief executive office and co-founder of Youth Equestrian Development Association. “We do things with the funds that go directly back to our student riders.”
Sponsorship support can offsets the cost of the event so that participation fees are affordable.
“Sponsorships are good for clinics as it helps offset the costs of the clinic and allowing you to offer a lower fee to participate in the clinic,” said Jane Moulton, treasurer for the Eastern Mountain Ranch Horse Association. “Clinic sponsors can also offer the opportunity to provide awards for other types of participant recognition, such as most improved.”
The key to securing sponsorships for shows and clinics is to stand out from other event planners who are also asking for support. Think about what makes your event unique and communicate that to sponsors. At the same time, be authentic. If your focus is hunt seat horses, don’t reach out to a Western hat company and vice versa. However, a multi-disciplinary event might have success reaching out to companies that serve more than one style of riding.
Don’t be discouraged if a company declines your request. It’s going to happen, and probably will happen more often than you’d like.
Securing sponsorships is a lot like sales, it can take a lot of ‘nos’ before receiving a ‘yes.’ Leverage relationships to make the most of your ‘sales pitch.’
If a member of your organization or staff knows the owner or representative of a company, you might have more success going that route.
“Don’t be afraid to ask people who might be outside your circle,” Moulton emphasized.
Sometimes local businesses that aren’t directly involved with the horse industry—but who want to reach your clientele with their messages—will participate as sponsors. That might include banks, restaurants, outdoor stores, etc.